Flying your Age
Eric Dufour performed 67 flights in one hour and 20 minutesBy Elisabeth Guerin
Eric Dufour turned 50 in October 2005. The big 50 is always something special and he wanted to see how old he really was by trying to fly his age with the same number of flights the very same day.
Dufour has always been in good shape, at teaching PPG for the past 13 years. He is not new to challenges and wanted to know if making 50 flights the same day was possible. He knew he could do it, but how easy or difficult was it going to be?
Two weeks before his birthday, with only one student and a few other pilots present, he went for a practice round. The objective was to do 10 or 15 flights quickly to see if 50 would be more of a challenge then anticipated. The wind was just perfect with a 3 mph breeze, allowing reverse launches.
With his small Silex and SD 125, at 5,550’ ASL in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he started with 6 liters of gas, doing 10 flights, and 15 non stop, and 20. All complete flights from taking-off, climbing to sit in the harness, doing a 360 and return to land into the wind. At 50 flights done, he went for another one just in case, to make sure flight 50 was accomplished.
So on the 51st flight, he ran out of gas while landing.Monte Fleming shouted at him: “Eric, you are the in the club Route 66 Flyers. So why not 66 flights?" So Eric stood up and asked for some more fuel, and went for another 17 flights in a row, to perform the 66 flights.
At 50, 67 flights in 1 hour and 20 minutes. All those reverse flights were done on the first try. No missed take-off or inflation and all stand up landings. Although getting tired, Eric could have done more, but there was no more challenge as someone else somewhere else will easily beat this new record.
But the real record for each pilot would be to fly his age at least one time. Watch out young guys! Flying your age is not as easy as it seems, as you need to pick the right day and have the right technique. It has to be done gracefully despite your age.
Records are there to be broken, so who is next?
Monte Fleming, pilot from Colorado
Tom Putsky, pilot from New Mexico
Denzel Thompson, pilot from New Mexico
Eugen Schussman, pilot from Germany